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Grand Crus looks to challenge Big Buck's dominance of the Ladbrokes World Hurdle this afternoon in the highlight of day three at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival
In the past when the subject of the World Hurdle came up in conversation racing fanatics were longing for a year they could discuss a number of horse’s chances and indulge in a endless debate, similar to the argument that would ensue if we were to talk about the Gold Cup or Champion Hurdle.
The World Hurdle has been dominated by the marvellous Big Buck’s for the last two years but in 2011 punters could have their wish granted and there might be a serious challenge to his crown.
While Master Minded, Dunguib and Kauto Star all fluffed their lines as Cheltenham ‘bankers’ at last year’s Festival, Big Buck’s made no mistake with his script, putting up another jaw-dropping performance to defend his title in the race. Since he ditched a career over fences and found his fortune over hurdles, Paul Nicholls superstar is ten races unbeaten and he has never looked like he could be turned over. Sent off at 2/13 in the Long Walk Hurdle at Newbury in December, he laughed at his rivals all the way to the line and anybody watching that will realise that it is virtually impossible to see Big Buck’s being beaten.
That being said, that was before Grand Crus put up an absolutely stunning performance to land the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham last time out and David Pipe’s stable star looks like he could lay down a serious challenge to the favourite. A strong travelling type, he has now registered three runaway victories and he can give Big Buck’s his first test for some time.
It must also be remembered that isn’t just a two-horse race and with the Irish in such good form, Fiveforthree and Mourad are respected.
Nick Wilby’s selection – Big Buck’s, evens (Paddy Power